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Article: Local Fights in the Spotlight - Mid-Year 2024 Review of Boxing in Quebec

Combats locaux à l’honneur - Bilan de mi-année 2024 de la boxe au Québec

Local Fights in the Spotlight - Mid-Year 2024 Review of Boxing in Quebec

By William Dumoulin

Photo Credit: Vincent Ethier - Eye of the Tiger

In 2023, 15 professional boxing galas took place in Quebec. By mid-2024, we have already enjoyed numerous events, with 12 galas having taken place or scheduled by the end of the summer. Here is a summary of the first six months of the year for boxing in the beautiful province and a preview of what's to come.

Quebec has shone on the international stage, with several of our boxers having world championship opportunities. Montreal’s adopted Artur Beterbiev defended his titles in Quebec against Callum Smith, Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse won the WBC heavyweight championship, Jessica Camara returned from South Korea with the WBA Gold lightweight championship, and Steve Claggett had the chance to face the WBO super lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez.

Local fights have also been in the spotlight at the beginning of this year. We had a great Canadian championship fight between Jan Michael Poulin and Sébastien Bouchard. Erik Bazinyan and Shakeel Phinn faced each other, and Patrice Volny defeated Steven Butler by TKO in the 9th round. Honorable mention to Theo Owusu and Zacharie Loiseau, who agreed to face each other despite their early careers.

I think the best way to summarize what happened in the first six months is to give out awards. Here are the winners for the following categories: Boxer of the Mid-Year: Being one of the few boxers who fought twice in significant fights, Christian Mbilli deserves the title of boxer of the mid-year, with TKO victories against Rohan Murdock and Marc Heffron. Prospect of the Mid-Year: With three explosive victories, Derek Pomerleau deserves the title of prospect of the mid-year hands down. Already doing 8-round fights, he shouldn’t hold this prospect title for very long. KO of the Mid-Year: This award goes to the spectacular and even frightening KO by Osleys Iglesias against Evgeny Shvedenko. The latter had difficulty getting back up afterward. Honorable mention to Steven Butler's KO against Steve Rolls. Surprise of the Mid-Year: The surprise of the mid-year goes to Shakeel Phinn's performance against Erik Bazinyan. Although the latter was heavily favored, Phinn delivered an incredible performance and probably should have won according to the judges. Event of the Mid-Year: The event of the mid-year unsurprisingly goes to the grand gala of January 13 at the Centre Vidéotron. Every time American TV comes to Quebec, it's exciting. A deep and entertaining card made this event the most notable of the first six months of 2023. Performance of the Mid-Year: For the performance of the year, it goes to Artur Beterbiev's masterful performance on January 13. His structured and strategic demolition of Callum Smith is one of the best performances by a Quebecer in a world championship. Fight of the Mid-Year: We had several very good fights, but the fight of the year goes to the great duel between Sébastien Bouchard and Jan Michael Poulin. Honorable mention to the war between Marie Pier Houle and Karla Ramos Zamora.

What to expect for the rest of 2024? With this explosive and busy start to the year, what can we expect for the rest of 2024? Our WBC heavyweight champion, Vanessa Lepage Joanisse, will have a tough task on July 27 facing Claressa Shields in Detroit. ESPN’s return to Quebec is already planned, with Christian Mbilli facing Sergiy Derevyanchenko on August 17 in Quebec. Despite a delay, Jean Pascal should make his return to the ring soon in a local fight against Terry Osias. In September, Jessica Camara will have the chance to defend her WBA Gold title against Bonny Hunter at the Tohu, in Montreal on a card presented by Canada Fighting Club. Several galas from Eye of the Tiger and Groupe Yvon Michel are expected to be presented at the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal.

In short, a lot of action is expected by the end of the year, which should result in one of the best years in a long time for Quebec boxing, notably thanks to the return of the tradition of presenting local fights.

Enjoy the next events!

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